What is Kybella?
Kybella is an injectable fat dissolving treatment for non-surgical double chin removal. It was FDA approved in 2014. There is no standard price. Variations in cost begin with knowing how many vials are needed per treatment and how many treatments are needed. In addition, there is variability in cost by region and type of medical injector.
Is Kybella Worth It?
Of all cosmetic procedures on RealSelf, Kybella has one of the lowest “worth it” ratings with only 64% of patients who’ve had to procedure saying it was valuable.
Kybella generally needs to be repeated; many patients undergoing the treatment do not return for continued treatment after the experience with the initial injection. In addition, it is hard to predict the nature of the results and in general how many treatments will be needed.
Is Kybella Safe?
Kybella is generally safe. The initial FDA approval studies showed a 4% incidence of temporary nerve injury. As the product has been around and used more often we have seen other issues ranging from minor loss of beard hair at the site of injection to skin ulcers caused by superficial injection. Injectors have also began injecting Kybella in “off-label” regions such as the jowls, abdomen and eyelids. This can be very dangerous!
How Much Does Kybella Cost?
The problem with knowing how much will Kybella cost is that no one can definitively tell you how many vials or treatments you will need. Kybella is priced by the vial and bigger people generally need more vials and depending on how you respond you might need multiple treatments. In general most people need at least two treatments.
Kybella Cost: The Dirty Secret
When the drug makers apply for FDA approval, they have to show that it is safe and “works.” While the trials and studies showed that the product works, I asked the owners of the drug for the data behind these studies and did some of my own digging.
As it turns out, in the clinical trials, an average of $6800 worth of Kybella was injected into each patient. The company can say the product works; however, they were never required to answer the question of “at what price.”
Kybella Before and After
I think the reasoning behind the low ratings of Kybella does not only represent the egregious pricing and uncertain nature of the price, but also reflects the uncertainty of the results and the horrendous recovery process.
Kybella causes pain and swelling that is near-universally and undeniably worse than that of any other treatment including chin liposuction. On top of that, it needs to be repeated MULTIPLE times, carries more complications and does not address the jawline.
Kybella Horror Stories: Why is it being recommended?
The real truth behind the surge in interest in Kybella relies on dishonest patient counseling. Kybella is particularly popular amongst practitioners who are not able to perform liposuction. In addition, it is much cheaper to invest in Kybella over >$100,000 +machines such as CoolSculpt.
An honest counseling session needs to include the risks, benefits AND alternatives to any treatment. I would say that 99% of patients, if fairly and honestly disclosed, would choose liposuction over Kybella for the reasons listed above.
Stay away from Kybella. If someone tells you it’s an option, seek a second opinion from a surgeon who can do Kybella and perform other forms of treatment to the under chin area.